8 ways to help your child stay safe, healthy in the hospital
No one knows your child as well as you do. As a parent, you're one of the most important members of your child's caregiving team. If your child is ever admitted to the hospital, you can play a key role in helping the recovery process.
In honor of Patient Safety Awareness Week, find out how you can best support your child's health and safety during their hospital stay with these eight tips.
1. Be a patient advocate for your child. Don’t be shy. Ask questions about your child’s care, raise safety concerns you have or ask the provider to double-check their chart before they act. Write down your questions as you think of them so that you don't forget any.
2. You know your child best. Share unique things about your child with providers that may be important for your child’s overall care (i.e., they have a fear of animals or only like to eat food cut in small pieces).
3. Wash your hands frequently. Wash your hands and your child’s hands when entering and leaving the hospital, your patient room, the bathroom, and any treatment rooms. Be sure to wash if you have handled any soiled material.
4. Make sure your care team washes up, too. Since you are part of your child’s healthcare team, do not be afraid to remind doctors and nurses about washing their hands before working with you, even if they are wearing gloves.
5. Stay clean and dry. If your child has an intravenous catheter or a wound, keep the skin around the dressing clean and dry, and let your provider know if it gets wet or loose.
6. Watch for red or irritated skin. If you notice any new redness or irritation on your child’s skin, notify your child’s caregivers. Ask what steps can be taken to prevent harm to the skin.
7. Know the medications. Ask for the names of the medications your child is receiving in the hospital and how they are expected to help your child. Providers will check your child’s identification band before giving a medication to make certain the correct medication is being given. If you don’t see this, ask staff to double-check that the medication is for your child.
8. Be prepared when going home. When your child is ready to be discharged from the hospital, make certain you know what medications and/or treatments your child will need once home. Ask what you should watch for that will require a call to your child’s doctor and which doctor to call if questions come up. Also, ask when your child will need to follow up with a physician appointment.